Jones Day White Collar Leader Expects Biden to Turn Up Heat

Feb. 12, 2021, 7:27 PM

A Jones Day practice leader says the firm is gearing up for a renewed emphasis on a range of white-collar prosecutions under the Biden administration, and helping to prepare clients for a regulatory landscape that will be more “international and interconnected” than ever.

Ted Chung, chair of Jones Day’s investigations and white collar defense practice, said he expects some change in the focus of his group over the next four years, as Biden’s team begins to prioritize cases on issues such as civil rights, the environment, and workplace safety.

“We expect to see an uptick in enforcement activity that aligns with their priorities,” Chung told Bloomberg Law.

Jones Day has been bulking up its white collar team of late, including the recent return of Justin Herdman to the firm. Herdman, a Cleveland-based partner, for the last four years served as U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

Several other firms also have boosted their white collar practices in recent days, including McGuireWoods and Crowell & Moring.

Chung said the new administration may not lead to changes as significant as some expect in certain white collar enforcement matters, like Foreign Corrupt Practices Act cases, for example, given that former President Trump’s team was tougher on those cases than some originally anticipated.

Chung worked for at least a couple prominent Democratic elected officials in Illinois before joining Jones Day in 2010, according to his firm bio, including former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

Yet Chung said he does expect President Biden’s Justice Department to redouble focus on FCPA and prioritize False Claims Act prosecutions. “You can expect to see increased and intensified activity in these cases,” he said.

Chung said it’s important to make sure Jones Day clients are fully prepared to deal with a broader white collar regulatory and prosecutorial landscape, as such investigations “are more international and interconnected” than ever before.

Changes to enforcement regulations abroad these days have more of an impact in the U.S, and vice versa, he said, as white collar prosecutions are no longer dominated by U.S. regulators, but instead involve “an unprecedented level of joint cooperation” between governments.

He added that governments overseas are also following the lead of the U.S. by pursuing executives, not just corporations, in fraud claims.

Other Big Law leaders also have noted what they call clear indications that the new administration will “turbocharge” enforcement against corporate wrongdoing. The Justice Department “will likely take a heavier hand by increasing corporate monitoring and refocusing attention on individual corporate executives,” wrote WilmerHale partner and white collar co-chair Ronald Machen recently.

Chung, who has been with Jones Day since 2010, said his practice includes just over 150 lawyers, including 84 partners. Two-thirds of his team is based in the U.S., he said, while the remaining white collar lawyers are spread throughout many of the firm’s 24 international offices.

Herdman’s return to Jones Day, the 10th largest law firm in the U.S. by gross revenue, according to the most recent available AmLaw figures, was just one of many instances of a lawyer rejoining the firm after a stint with the Trump administration.

Others have included Eric Dreiband, a former assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division; Chad Mizelle, who was acting Department of Homeland Security general counsel; former White House Counsel Don McGahn; and former Solicitor General Noel Francisco.

Jones Day’s close connections to the Trump administration have at times sparked concern from some at the firm.

One week after the 2020 presidential election lawyers from Jones Day’s office in the nation’s capital held conference calls with its then-Washington partner-in-charge, Kevyn Orr, to discuss its role in election-related litigation pursued by the Trump team, according to participants who asked not to be identified.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sam Skolnik in Washington at sskolnik@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com

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